At least 45 people have been killed and dozens others injured in triple bomb explosions that struck Libya’s eastern port city of Derna.
The simultaneous attacks on Friday targeted the police headquarters in the eastern town of al-Qubah, located 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the ISIL stronghold, Derna. The ISIL has been winning a foothold in Libya, far from its battlefields in Iraq and Syria.
The bombings also targeted the home of the speaker of Libya’s internationally recognized parliament, Aguila Salah Issa, and a gas station.
Medical sources said the parliament speaker was not at home at the time of the bombings, adding that most victims of the bombings were at the gas station as motorists were queuing to fill their tanks.
Al-Qubah is controlled by retired General Khalifa Haftar, an autonomous military figure whose loyalists have been instrumental in protecting the internationally recognized government in the violence-wracked North African country.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions; however, such deadly attacks bear the hallmark of ISIL militants who have battled the army for months in and around the eastern city of Benghazi.
Egypt launched air strikes against the ISIL Takfiri militants in Libya on Monday in retaliation for the terrorist group’s brutal beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya.
Source of conflict
Libya has two rival governments vying for control of the country, with one faction controlling Tripoli, and the other, Libya’s internationally recognized government, governing the cities of Bayda and Tobruk.
Libya’s government and elected parliament moved to the eastern city of Tobruk after an armed group based in the northwestern city of Misrata seized Tripoli and most government institutions in August 2014.
Libya plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising against the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.
The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups, which refuse to lay down arms.
Battles among the rival militants, who had participated in the anti-Gaddafi uprising, are mainly over the control of oil facilities in eastern Libya.